These were the reasons given by DA leader Mmusi Maimane after a disastrous day for the party in the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro on Monday, when Trollip and the council’s speaker, Jonathan Lawack, were ousted in no-confidence votes.
He was speaking at a media briefing in Cape Town together with Trollip.
“The motivation for this unscrupulous move is clear: for the ANC, UDM and the EFF to gain unfettered access to public funds to fill their own pockets and their party coffers before the 2019 national elections,” Maimane said.
“The scapegoat, too, is clear: the colour of Athol Trollip’s skin. This despite the incredible work the DA-led coalition government has done over the past 24 months to better the lives of the people of the metro by speeding up the delivery of basic services,” he said.
Maimane said that in 2016, the DA-led coalition government, consisting of the DA, ACDP, Cope, and UDM - and later the PA - set out to eradicate corruption, deliver basic services and ensure the people of Nelson Mandela Bay were able to find work.
“Throughout the challenges faced, we have seen many successes and shown real progress in delivering services to the people of the municipality,” Maimane pointed out. He said the ANC, UDM and EFF had effectively formed a unity coalition. The people of Nelson Mandela Bay witnessed the newly formed coalition of corruption between the ANC, UDM and EFF banding together to undermine the will of the electorate by unlawfully removing its duly elected DA-led coalition government.
“This was a mock council meeting that elected a mock government, and we are of the view that yesterday’s proceedings are invalid in law,” he said.
Trollip said the ANC and EFF’s actions were illegal, and that they were confident of overturning their decisions. He added that there was no credibility left with the likes of convicted attacker, ANC councillor Andile Lungisa.
“These are members who have been given prison sentences. You cannot serve as a councillor with this kind of record. Their action was illegal, and I still consider myself the mayor,” he said.
Asked if he was interested in mayor Patricia de Lille’s job after October, Trollip said: “I am the mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay. I am not a candidate for that job (De Lille’s) and I am not interested.”
Maimane said the new “coalition of corruption” had also turned DA councillor Victor Manyathi against them.
“They preyed on his legal and financial vulnerability to lure him into treachery.”